Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Buddhist Quotes - May

This month's quote comes from the Gosho "The fourteen slanders". It was written near the end of 1276, in reply to the lay priest Matsuno RokurĊ Saemon.

I am currently at home with the mother of all colds. I seriously just sneezed hard enough to make my whole bed tremble. I feel so fortunate that I have a job that allows me sick days and still pays me even if I am sneezing in bed. That might have something to do with the fact that teachers have to work even when they are ill. I have to set cover work and I still check my emails and do work related stuff in bed, but since I have a rule never to bring any work at home, I can't do any planning or marking, and it's ok.

I feel a bit guilty for not being there to teach my students, but then again the kids deserve the best teacher they can have, and at the moment I am not at my best by a long shot.

So, in my neverending boredness I was browsing Facebook and one of my Buddhist friends put this question up on a Buddhist page, about what slander actually is. I immediately thought about the 14 slanders, so I looked it up, and before linking it to her I re-read it, mostly out loud (my throat is in pretty bad shape, I can barely do gongyo).

There is something to be said about reading Gosho out loud. It's something one of my leaders encouraged me to do a few years back, so I tried. I would say it always gives me new insight into the Gosho, it makes me feel like I am reading it with my life, and also makes me feel closer to Nichiren. He was a pretty awesome guy, if you think about it. A far cry from the uber-calm buddhist monk of Hollywood, he was strong, feisty and could even come across as arrogant. He looked at the demons head on and never faltered, but also made sure to always show respect and gratitude to his disciples.

That Gosho is awesome, it's really difficult to choose a quote from it, so there:

In your letter you write: “[...] how great is the difference between the blessings received when a sage chants the daimoku and the blessings received when we chant it?” To reply, one is in no way superior to the other. The gold that a fool possesses is no different from the gold that a wise man possesses; a fire made by a fool is the same as a fire made by a wise man.
However, there is a difference if one chants the daimoku while acting against the intent of this sutra. 
And since lists are too tempting, here are the 14 slanders:
  1. arrogance
  2. negligence
  3. wrong views of the self
  4. shallow understanding
  5. attachment to earthly desires 
  6. not understanding
  7. not believing
  8. scowling with knitted brows (I love this one)
  9. harboring doubts
  10. slandering
  11. despising
  12. hating
  13. envying
  14. bearing grudges (ooooops!)
In the words of Nichiren, we must be on guard against them!


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